Floatplane over Portsmouth built for bid to be first to fly round globe

The Fairey Fremantle swoops over the Round Tower, Old Portsmouth
The Fairey Fremantle swoops over the Round Tower, Old Portsmouth
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You might recall this picture from last month when I asked if anyone could identify the aircraft flying over Old Portsmouth.

John Nichol says it was a Fairey Fremantle built for a projected around-the-world flight which never took place because by the time it was ready in November 1924 the Americans had beaten us to it.

He adds: ‘It was one of the largest single-engined floatplanes ever built and had a wingspan of 68ft 10ins.

‘It could carry seven passengers in a large cabin as well as the pilot. Its last recorded flight was in 1926 with the RAF on development work connected with radio-navigations.

‘When I saw the photo I realised it was much earlier than 1946, because of the old-fashioned floats. All later floats had a step to enable them to take off more easily.

‘Its maximum speed was 100mph and it had a 1,000-mile range.’